Posts Tagged ‘Alex Scally’

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The Baltimore duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally had established themselves as effortlessly sublime dream-pop adepts by the time of their third album, but they hadn’t yet embraced the production values that might convince people who weren’t reading mp3 blogs. Teen Dream, Beach House’s Sub Pop debut, was the sound of a band going for broke at that exciting moment before they know what they’re really capable of achieving. Recording in a converted church with producer/engineer Chris Coady, whose credits span Amen Dunes to Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the pair demonstrated a rare balance of preaching to the choir and pulling in new converts. The spidery guitar lines, dimly lit organ tones, and sparse drum machines remain.

But there’s also much more attempted: crystalline Fleetwood Mac–style harmonies, shoegaze-teetering crescendos, even kitchen-sink piano balladry. Each of the 10 songs could’ve been a single, and the physical edition’s accompanying DVD offers pleasantly warped videos for all of them. It was still dream pop, all right, right down to the “Twin Peaks”-echoing lyrical hook of the bleakly glamorous “Silver Soul.” But it was dream pop that could entice Jay-Z and Beyoncé out to a gig. Beach House have a well-earned reputation for not changing much, but on Teen Dream, they came into their own, and ushered the languid reveries of Galaxie 500, Mazzy Star, and Cocteau Twins into the current Instagram decade.

Beach House’s bleary-eyed dream pop is a soothing after-sun for the mind. The cymbals crash like waves on a deserted beach in late-summer, when the shadows are longer, the air is cooler and the carefree excitement of the previous months is replaced with a sedated satisfaction. Victoria Legrand’s contralto voice feels more shadowy than anything peak season would have allowed, whilst Alex Scally provides the flickers of brilliance that keep the whole record warm and alight, like a campfire under the starry skies.


If listening to Beach House’s Teen Dream felt like throwing open the shades and letting light into a dusty sunroom, Bloom revisited that same space at twilight, still opulent and opaque but with new scope. Alex Scally’s sparkling guitar leads and Victoria Legrand’s cyclone of a voice are instantly recognizable, but they’re distorted in mystery. Bloom is a seductive album that has little to do with romance or sexual gratification; its characters feel the tug of adventure, of sensations and phenomena they can’t quite describe.

And while Bloom boasts some of the most indelible melodies in Beach House’s discography—the twinkling “Lazuli,” the extended sigh of “Other People”—it’s most notable as a collection of remarkable sounds. “Myth” opens with that plonking bell, cracked like an egg after two stiff shakes; the drums on “Wild” foam and splash like the ocean around your ankles; “The Hours” clocks you with that sneering riff, a slow-motion punk moment. These little moments may not sound like much, but they end up feeling like dashes of spice added to a favourite home-cooked meal. There’s something unexpected lurking in every familiar bite.

Bloom is presented as an album which transcends the boundaries of genre, taste or subjectivity. It is described as a work of religious mission, opening the eyes of any who venture into it. But I’m indifferent to the quality of the music . Many claim that no indie or mainstream music released by the turn of the decade a few months ago was left untouched musically by Bloom’s dream pop, which epitomizes the sound of Beach House it’s synth arpeggios, fuzzy yet discreetly mixed guitars and ethereal, psychedelic vocals layered upon dreamy atmospheric sounds.

Dream pop is not just a genre. It’s an all-encompassing description: Bloom truly sounds like a dream feels. The duo behind the album created a psychedelic, half-conscious atmosphere shoegazed (a production style which tries to merge and effect the instruments until the different instruments on a mix are almost indistinguishable) to the point that the texture feels barely there, and yet impenetrable as a solid wall of sound; an enormous, slow moving, audible cloud. Unusually, the album benefits from each song sounding similar enough that each track fades into another seamlessly, which only adds to the unavoidable dream comparison: as a dream is an ambiguous, surreal montage of faded events and ideas, as is Bloom.

The influence of this album is hard to deny. Just a few tracks in, the poppy, synth arpeggios which are ever present. Then the ethereal, contralto female vocals, The trippy, heavily reverberated instrumentation and vocals the jangly guitars on Wherever You Go.

On the other hand, there are certainly arguments suggesting that the influence of Bloom has been exaggerated. The album cover for Bloomits prime visual representation, is instantly evocative of that of the self-titled album by The XX, released in 2009, or Turn on the Bright Lightsby Interpol, released 2002.

So, did Beach House simply steal their sound and aesthetic? Of course not. For the most part, Beach House reinvented dream pop for a new generation, with adding a new, even more ethereal touch which has placed its hand on every indie pop or rock record released since. Late 2000s psych-pop may belong in the same category of music as Bloom,but it’s no coincidence that Beach House are immediately distinct from their contemporaries, no matter the similarities.

Image result for BEACH HOUSE - " Live at Kings Theatre Brooklyn "

Last August  in, 2018, Beach House performed a stunning, career-spanning set at Brooklyn’s historic Kings Theatre. It’s an immersive concert film from the evening. Performing music from their latest album 7 and stretching back through 2008’s DevotionVictoria Legrand and Alex Scally brought their moody and mysterious dream pop to life, backed by state-of-the-art visuals, in a venue as grand and majestic as their music. The film is a close visual journey from one of the decade’s defining indie bands.

As usual, Victoria Legrand, Alex Scally and the rest of their band played mostly in silhouette against dramatic lighting and projected visuals.  The band also played a set the previous night at United Palace in New York City.

The Setlists between the two NYC shows only varied by one song: United Palace got “Pay No Mind” from 7 while Kings Theatre got that album’s “Woo”, in addition to six other new ones including “Lemon Glow,” “Drunk in L.A.” and “Wild.” Their sets included older favorites like “Lazuli,” “Myth” and “Silver Soul.” Opening both shows were old friends and onetime Sub Pop labelmates Papercuts,

Beach House have announced new set of tour dates for the United States and Canada this August. Lets hope they will come to the UK later this year.

Beach House perform live at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn on August 23rd, 2018.

Setlist: 0:25 Levitation 6:06 Wild 10:49 Dark Spring 14:20 The Traveller 18:31 L’Inconnue 23:16 Lazuli 28:05 Drunk in LA 32:10 Myth 36:29 Elegy to the Void 42:54 Woo 47:19 Space Song 53:32 Wishes 58:15 Girl of the Year 1:02:13 Sparks 1:07:39 Lemon Glow 1:12:17 Home Again 1:16:50 Walk in the Park 1:22:19 Dive

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Beach House - 7

Unlike any of the Beach House previous albums, 7 has no producer in the traditional sense. Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom (aka Peter Kember) was said to be a driving force behind the album, making sure it was protected against studio over-production and over-development. What we get is a more organic sound from the pop duo, highlighted by single “Dive,” which begins with a bright organ leading into Victoria Legrand’s soft vocals, slowly building into a dynamic climax that picks up with propulsive electric guitars.

7 is the 7th full-length record from Beach House. It marks the start of a new chapter for the band, who’ve been together for over 13 years and had most recently released an album of b-sides and rarities which they they described as “…a good step for us. It helped us clean the creative closet, put the past to bed, and start anew.”

The new album, 7, is about rebirth and rejuvenation for the group, allowing them the opportunity to rethink old methods in the writing and recording processes and shed some self-imposed limitations. They’ve delivered a truly remarkable work of art in this new album and we can’t wait for you all to experience it for yourselves.

The dream pop duo Beach House have released a new video for the song “Dark Spring” another  track taken off their 7th album 7, which is set to be released via Sub Pop Records on May 11th. The video, directed by Zia Anger is shot in stark black and white, with many of its shots and edits recalling classic film noir movies.

Musically speaking the song is a more uptempo affair, riding a bubbling synth line and an urgent drum pattern. As usual, the icy vocals of Victoria Legrand and the winding guitar work of Alex Scally take center stage, giving the song an epic sense of feel.

Beach House return with one of their finest records to date, loaded with infectious, immersive melodies… Few can create such dreamy, melancholic yet pop–tinged worlds, as this duo.”
Long Live Vinyl – 8/10

“While still unmistakably the work of Beach House, 7 is arguably their freshest sounding and texturally–rich set since 2010’s breakthrough Teen Dream.” London In Stereo

“More a subtle restyling than a full–on reincarnation, the soft–edged weightlessness, sumptuous tones and gauzy vocals still instantly recognisable on songs such as ‘Woo’ and the drop dead gorgeous ‘Dive’.” Uncut – 7/10

“Vast, hypnotic, beautiful… An exciting and essential album of 2018.” Louder Than War – 8/10

Beach House have become one of indie’s most dependable acts, and on 7 that continues… ‘Lemon Glow’ is a swirling cocktail of warped, wobbly synths while ‘Dive’ is another highlight, an intoxicating barrage of rollocking drums and guitar barging down the door.” DIY

Beach House are remarkably consistent, their woozy dream pop always finds a way to take up whichever space it inhabits.” Crack – 7/10

“Dive” is taken from 7, the new full length out May 11th, 2018.

Beach House will release 7, the group’s 7th full-length record, on 11th May 2018 via Bella Union Records in Europe and Sub Pop in the US. 7 features their latest offering, ‘Dive‘. All of the songs on 7 began in Beach House’s home studio in Baltimore, and were finished at Carriage House in Stamford, CT and Palmetto Studio in Los Angeles. The album was mixed by Alan Moulder.

Beach House (Alex Scally & Victoria Legrand) released B-sides and Rarities in 2017. Scally and Legrand used to limit themselves to what they thought they could perform live, but this time that limitation was ignored. Also, instead of one long studio session, Beach House recorded when inspired by batches of songs, which resulted in five mini-sessions over the course of eleven months.

Unlike the last four albums, 7 didn’t have a producer in the traditional sense. Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom (Peter Kember) became a significant force on this record by shedding conventions and helping to keep the songs alive, fresh, and protected from the destructive elements of recording studio overproduction and over-perfection. The band’s trusted live drummer from 2016 to the present, James Barone, played on the entire record, helping to keep rhythm at the centre of a lot of these songs.

Beach House has also scheduled a worldwide tour in support of 7 beginning April 30th ending in October 20th in Dublin, IE at Vicar Street. The tour reaches the UK for the 2 dates so far in London and Manchester shows this Autumn:

Thursday 18th October – LONDON – Troxy ,  Friday 19th October – MANCHESTER – Albert Hall

Beach House - 7

Formed in 2004 when Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand—both of whom had just recently graduated college—found themselves in different bands in the Baltimore indie rock scene (Baltimore has spawned Dan Deacon, Ponytail, Future Islands and more). After playing together in a different band that siphoned off members, it eventually just became the two of them writing songs on an organ and a guitar. Eventually, they’d have a live drummer, but it’s remained Legrand and Scally since the beginning.

It’s hard to peg Beach House to a genre beyond that big nebulous “indie rock,” but after 15 years and seven releases, they are a genre unto themselves. Because they haven’t expanded their palette that much, the beauty of the Beach House catalog is tracking how they recontextualized their sound again and again, adding more drums, making the songs faster and shinier, and moving back again to their lo-fi sound. While their albums all sound similar, they all stand as unique entities. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2006 to critical acclaim and has been followed by Devotion in 2008, Teen Dream in 2010, Bloom in 2012, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars in 2015, and B-sides and Rarities in 2017.

Legrand’s vocals to 1980s psychedelic rock vocalist Kendra Smith of the band Opal. The group’s influences include This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, The Zombies, Brian Wilson, Françoise Hardy, Neil Young, Big Star,and Chris Bell.

Last week, Beach House dropped “Lemon Glow,” the lead single from their upcoming seventh album. It’s due out later this spring—no hard date has been announce yet—but this new single is a perfect appetite whetted. Build on a gauzy drum and organ figure, it’s cut with Legrand’s lush vocals and occasional searing blasts of guitar from Scally. Turn the lights down low, indeed. This vaulted to the top of our most anticipated album of 2018 list in four minutes and five seconds.

Beach House

Recorded in 2 days, Beach House’s debut LP is a lo-fi mirage, the scrappiest version of an album that can be described as so lush you could sleep on it. The album was the culmination of a couple years of experimentation and live shows. “Apple Orchard” is the song that ran through MP3 blogs, but for my money “House on the Hill” is the album’s centerpiece.

producing music composed largely of organ, programmed drums, and slide guitar. Of the origins of the band name, Scally said: “We’d been writing music, and we had all these songs, and then there was that moment where you say ‘what do we call ourselves?’ We tried to intellectualize it, and it didn’t work. There were different plant-names, Wisteria, that kind of thing. Stupid stuff. But, once we stopped trying, it just came out, it just happened. And it just seemed perfect.” In an interview with Pitchfork, Legrand addressed their two member status; “[I]t’s a way to challenge ourselves: What do you do when it’s just the two of you… [O]ne of the reasons this has been such a fulfilling experience for me is that with two people, it’s so much easier to achieve things that feel exciting and new.”

Released October 2006 through Carpark Records the band’s self-titled debut album, Beach House,

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Released 10 years ago on February 26th, 2008, Beach House’s second album Devotion marks the point where Beach House found their sound. Singer Victoria Legrand and her musical partner, guitarist and keyboardist Alex Scally, have traveled far since then. Later albums, like 2015’s gorgeous Depression Cherry, have made them one of the most beloved indie acts of their generation. But this one stands alone as a moment of discovery. It felt then and feels now like a glimpse of a private world. A secret worth treasuring.

It was received with similar acclaim and was included in Best Albums of 2008 list. On October 21, 2008, the group released the single “Used to Be”Beach House also recorded a cover of Queen’s “Play the Game” release of the Red Hot Organization’s 2009 compilation, Dark Was The Night.

In 2009, Legrand provided backing vocals on the song “Two Weeks” by the indie rock band Grizzly Bear. She later collaborated with the band again by providing vocals to “Slow Life”, the band’s contribution to the soundtrack for the film Twilight: New Moon.

Teen Dream

If Devotion is the album that put Beach House on every indie fan’s radar and represented the first appearance of the Beach House we know now, Teen Dream was the one that put them in the first two lines of festival lineups.

The duo’s “dynamic and intense” third album, was released on Sub Pop Records.  After touring Devotion for close to two years—and writing on the road, as “Norway” debuted during promotion of the album—the band worked with producer Chris Coady for the first time, and suddenly the shimmery, beautiful organ sounds became even more shimmery and beautiful. 

Teen Dream features the lynchpins of the Beach House live show, like “Zebra” and “Take Care.” . Teen Dream did little to alter Beach House’s core characteristics– slow-motion beats layered with hazy keyboard drones, rippling guitar figures, and Victoria Legrand’s melancholic melodies– but greatly amplified them to the point of redefining the band’s essence, from that of introverted knee-gazers into an assured, emotionally assertive force.  Legrand stated: “I see this as just another step in a direction. I would not want to say that 2010 will be our year, necessarily, I hope it’s just another year in which we do good work. I don’t want to be defined by this year, I want it to just be a beginning.

While Beach House have a reputation, in their music at least, of being pretty serious, anyone who’s been to a live show knows that they’re really funny and personable during the in-between song banter. They also sometimes cover songs you wouldn’t expect them to cover. Case-in-point: They played a sinister, amazing cover of Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade” at festival spots in 2010. My favorite part of this cover is that some media outlet (I can’t find this now, but if someone could help me out @ me) interviewed them at the time about “their new song about lemons” and they had to explain it was a Gucci Mane cover. It’s impossible to imagine someone interviewing Beach House in 2018 not knowing Gucci Mane.


Bloom shot Beach House to the stratosphere; it delivered on all the sonics of Teen Dream, and even debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard charts. Listening to this album is like riding a horse into an infinite vista, where you will meet everyone you’ve ever loved. Released on March 7th, 2012 the band streamed a new song, “Myth”, from their website. The album Bloom was released on May 15th, 2012 via Sub Pop Records. A second song from the album, “Lazuli”, was released. The band released a short film, Forever Still, The film, directed by the band and Max Goldman, was inspired by Pink Floyd’s Live at Pompeii and features the band performing songs from Bloom at various sites around Tornillo, Texas, where the album was recorded. The idea for the film came from the band’s desire to make quality promotional content they could control artistically: “We had previously been involved in too many live sessions, radio tapings, photo shoots, etc., where the outcome was far below our personal artistic standards.

We also felt a need to distance ourselves from the ‘content’ culture of the internet that rewards quantity over quality and shock over nuance.

Depression Cherry & Thank Your Lucky Stars

In August 2015, Beach House released their fifth LP, Depression Cherry which they promoted the usual ways, by doing tons of interviews, appearing on late night TV and releasing singles. It had a bunch of songs that felt of a piece with Bloom—the highlight being “Sparks.” A month after Depression Cherry came out, the band surprise dropped another album, Thank Your Lucky Stars, a darker, more lo-fi album—in some ways, it’s the spiritual sequel to Devotion—that they didn’t want to have fall into the “traditional” album cycle of promotion. As a set, the albums are a good encapsulation of everything Beach House had done leading up to 2015; the lo-fi, the widescreen and everything in between.

The album was released on August 28th via Sub Pop Records (on Bella Union in the UK)  and the band announced a world tour in support. Talking of the direction of the new album, the band said “In general, this record shows a return to simplicity, with songs structured around a melody and a few instruments, with live drums playing a far lesser role. With the growing success of Teen Dream and Bloom, the larger stages and bigger rooms naturally drove us towards a louder, more aggressive place; a place farther from our natural tendencies. Here, we continue to let ourselves evolve while fully ignoring the commercial context in which we exist.”.

B-Sides & Rarities

Compilations of B-sides and rarities are often either released at the end of a long career as a vault clearing, or as a way for a band to reset after a long creative period. In Beach House’s case, this release feels like the latter, a way for them to put a capstone on their last six albums, as they look forward to whatever is next. Like, maybe a new album in 2018. The fun highlights here are the remixes, because you don’t realize how malleable Beach House songs are until you hear them fussed up.

The compilation, B-Sides and Rarities, was eventually released on June 30th, 2017, and was supported by a new song, “Chariot”, which served as the lead single of the compilation and one of the two previously unreleased songs on it.

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Beach House have shared a brand new song, ‘Lemon Glow.’

The track will appear on their forthcoming new album which is set to land laters this spring: “Wishing everyone out there love tonight,” they wrote on Instagram while announcing the news. Jam-packed with synths, Lemon Glow is a glimpse into what to expect from their new album which will be their seventh studio full-length and the follower to the 2015 double-release of ‘Depression Cherry’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’.

Last year, they released a collection of unreleased music called B-Sides and Rarities.


Beach House enchanted an Uptown Theater audience with its unique sounds Saturday night.

While “Depression Cherry” radiates warmth, its stately follow-up is like an ice castle sculpted from Alex Scally’s guitar textures and Victoria Legrand’s voice and keyboards. A vast, frostily majestic work, the album beckons to us from afar, trading immediacy for an enigmatic remoteness that offers new mysteries with every listen,

More composers than songwriters, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, who perform as the duo Beach House, create soundscapes, waves of ambiance and/or dissonance that render a variety of moods and atmospheres.


Theirs isn’t commercial music; there are few, if any, pop moments in their songs. And depending upon how deeply their listeners let themselves get involved, prolonged exposure to their music and midtempo rhythms can be either hypnotic or monotonous. Legrand the band’s lead singer and keyboardist. Her voice (think of Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star or Julee Cruise) is pretty in an interesting way. Amid the sounds that surround it — drums, synthesized noises and Scally’s ornate guitar forays — her voice becomes another instrument, another layer of sound.

“Thank Your Lucky Stars” is the 6th album from Beach House (and 2nd new full length of 2015)! The band have the following to say about it:  Slow music for the soul. I think I like it a little more than Depression Cherry.

“Thank Your Lucky Stars is our sixth full length record. It was written after “Depression Cherry” from July 2014 – November 2014 and recorded during the same session as Depression Cherry. The songs came together very quickly and were driven by the lyrics and the narrative. In this way, the record feels very new for us, and a great departure from our last few records. Thematically, this record often feels political. It’s hard to put it into words, but something about the record made us want to release it without the normal “campaign.” We wanted it to simply enter the world and exist.
Thank you very much,
Beach House”

released October 16th, 2015

Beach House’s fifth album sees Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally distil things right down to their essence and create their best record so far. This is dream-pop in excelsis. Using the most minimal ingredients of organ, guitar, drum-machine and voice, but creating a spangly, fuzzy, graceful sound that could never be considered lo-fi, the duo have made an album that totally envelops the listener. Mesmerising. The narrative surrounding “Depression Cherry” isn’t particularly interesting, just a very good band making another very good album. But to dismiss it as “just another Beach House album” would be a disservice to what it really is: a paring back of the sweeping grandeur to reveal the bittersweet humanity underneath. On first listen, it sounds surprisingly small. But that’s also its greatest strength — instead of pulling you into an expansive universe of sound, it meets you on your level, makes room for your emotions. Bloom made me feel like I was flying, but Depression Cherry offers me a hand up

Beach House are Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. We have been a band for over a decade living and working in Baltimore, MD. Depression Cherry is our 5th full-length record. This record follows the release of our self-titled album in 2006, Devotion in 2008, Teen Dream in 2010 and Bloom in 2012. Depression Cherry was recorded at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana from November ’14th through January ’15th .

In general, this record shows a return to simplicity, with songs structured around a melody and a few instruments, with live drums playing a far lesser role. With the growing success of Teen Dream and Bloom, the larger stages and bigger rooms naturally drove us towards a louder, more aggressive place; a place farther from our natural tendencies. Here, we continue to let ourselves evolve while fully ignoring the commercial context in which we exist.


Depression Cherry was produced and recorded by the band and Chris Coady at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana.

So far, all of Beach House’s albums have required you to give up a part of yourself to fully appreciate them. They’re sweeping, broad swaths of emotion for the listener to project their feelings onto. They come along every two years or three, There was Devotion and Teen Dream  two years later, Bloom came about just as I was feeling restless and wondering what to do,  next came Depression Cherry, that record represented loss, and the blood-red anger and pain that results from it. Up until this point, all of Beach House’s albums have inspired a deep, justified, and personal emotional response. But it’s hard to go to that well twice in such a short period of time. There’s only so much of yourself that you can give over. “Thank Your Lucky Stars” comes to us on completely different terms than any Beach House record so far. Evaluating and investing in it feels clinical in a way that the band never has before.

Most of that feeling probably has to do with the back-to-back release schedule. Digging into TYLS requires a bit more parsing than usual: Is it a companion record? A B-sides collection? A surprise, even though they insist that it’s not? In a few years, separated from this context, I expect the record will solidly stand on its own. It’s too good of an album not to. But, for right now, it’s impossible not to weigh Beach House’s two most recent albums against one another, down to their nine-track by nine-track structures: “Somewhere Tonight” doesn’t reach the elegiac, choral-assisted highs of “Days Of Candy” as a closer; “Levitation” has more of a backbone than “Majorette”; “One Thing” and “The Traveller” are stronger pivot points than their Depression Cherry counterparts. These comparisons are inevitable, unfortunately. Beach House invite them, releasing such similar records so close to each other. Beach House albums always seemed to arrive organically, right when they’re needed. But this is the first time that one doesn’t feel so necessary.

It doesn’t help that a band so often accused of always sounding the same decided to put out two new albums in as many months. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally have always progressed in micro-shifts, and leaving so little distance between these records highlights that fact. Over a longer period of time, their consistency and sameness is a comfort. But jutting up against each other like this, it can also be interpreted as an inability to adapt. They’ve always bordered on becoming a caricature: There’s the same old Beach House metronome that’s in every song, ticking away like a clock toward irrelevancy. We tend to crave forward motion in our art, but the duo pushes against that desire, sometimes frustratingly so.

So, of course, TYLS doesn’t sound much different from what we’ve come to expect from the Baltimore duo. But they do make good on a promise: When introducing Depression Cherry — before we even knew Thank Your Lucky Stars was on the horizon — Beach House said it hearkened back to an earlier sound, invoking the soft and comforting lo-fi touches of their self-titled debut and Devotion. But when Depression Cherry arrived in the summer, I was disappointed that it ended up being more in line with Teen Dream and Bloom than they had made it out to be. I wanted something, anything, to switch up the formula that they had perfected over the years. In hindsight, though, it seems so obvious that they were talking about this record, because it so distinctly connects to their roots. That’s what makes TYLS a valuable contribution to Beach House’s discography, not just an also-ran: It finds a way to marry the dramatic backdrops of their last three records with the more straightforward, to-the-point nature of their beginnings.

When Beach House are chugging ahead at full-steam, they avoid traditional verse-chorus-verse structure altogether. Their songs are giant moods, splashes of feeling and flow. But the tracks on Thank Your Lucky Stars don’t operate like that — they regress, but in a satisfying way. They feel graspable and grounded in a way that the band hasn’t since their outset. You can reach out and touch these songs, see how they work. It makes the duo seem more human, and gives them more of a personality than they’ve ever had before. Here, they’re more interested in telling their own stories than letting us paint in the details of our own problems.

In announcing the new album, the band made sure to mention that the songs on TYLS were written after all of the ones on DC, even though they were recorded around the same time. I think that’s where the divide between the two albums starts to become apparent: One is the head and the other is the heart. DC is more Scally’s work — look at the labored, heavy set pieces of “PPP” and “10:37″ and “Sparks.” These shoegaze-inspired tracks emphasize the technical element of Beach House’s sound. That’s the head. But TYLS highlights the emotional — it’s like Legrand used up everything she had on DC and dug deeper than she ever has before. So, while their world-building is still as pristine as ever, Thank Your Lucky Stars is the first Beach House record that feels like it has a perspective. And the perspective that comes through so strongly is Legrand’s. (In fact, this is the first time I ever started to wonder what a solo record from her would sound like.)

It’s a lucky twist of fate that news of the record leaked out with the lyrics sheets first, because those are more important this time around. Honestly, I’m not sure I ever really paid much attention to the words in Beach House’s songs before Thank Your Lucky Stars. Outside of their big, climactic platitudes — “I’d take care of you,” “Then it comes again, just like a spark,” “Was it ever quite enough?” — the lyrics always felt, if not secondhand, then just a much smaller component of a larger picture: a means to an end, a note to a feeling. Legrand would stretch her syllables beyond recognition, so the meaning would blend in rather than stick out. There’s still a lot of that here, but there are also significant sections where it’s clear that the arrangements take a backseat to the story. Thank Your Lucky Stars puts the words front-and-center more than ever, and to great effect. “Would I be acting up/ If I said it’s not enough?” she asks on “The Traveller,” and later on: “Would I be acting up/ If I said not that much?” Legrand’s weighing her options between coming to the forefront or continuing to hang out behind the curtain — both are viable, but TYLS commits to the former.

Legrand creates honest-to-god characters and plots on this album, evocative and dynamic portraits of hyper-specific situations. On “Common Girl” — whose syncopated beat is lifted nearly straight from Devotion’s “Wedding Bell” — she snapshots the titular tragic figure with clarity: “She makes movies where she cries on cue,” “She’s the one with the lazy eye.” “Rough Song” chronicles the whirlwind of a drunken family party that begs for escape: “Hard to hear she spit on you and made your bloody nose more bloody/ Shut the door, she’ll have no more/ Another vodka cocktail party.” Or on “One Thing,” where they commit to what I’m pretty sure is their first F-bomb: “You’re always out of reach/ The faces in the secondhand/ A little fuck off kiss.” The band even reaches #peak Beach House with “Elegy To The Void,” a title which is as winking and self-aware as they’ve been willing to get. “All Your Yeahs,” with its conversational lead-off, displays more of that potency with one of the most anthemic and optimistic paeans the duo has crafted yet: “It’s your life/ Do you right/ Give them love.”

Thank Your Lucky Stars is littered with this kind of striking and poetic energy. It layers itself through the album and, coupled with their more straitlaced approach to song construction, in many ways TYLS stands as the band’s most accessible work yet. What they lose in mystique, they gain in tangibility. Even the title of the record and the artwork — the first to feature an entirely visible face in frame — provides us more of an established story than the rest. If TYLS is any indication, the duo is shifting away from being just a screen waiting to be filled with other people’s memories. I wish I had more of myself to give up to it, but it seems like Beach House are compensating for that by putting in a lot more of themselves.